How Social Media Can Be the First Responder in Weather-Crisis Communications

By Stephanie Miller Social Media Manager, Madigan Pratt & Associates | February 11, 2018

This fall, Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria made names for themselves in the Caribbean and along the southern and eastern coasts of the U.S. As hotels were unfortunately pummeled with Category 5 hurricanes, many people turned to social media. Social media quickly became an outlet for followers to express well wishes, request updates on guest/staff safety, seek the hotel’s condition or check their upcoming reservation status.

In the wake of weather-related disasters, social media has become a preferred news outlet, with Facebook being the most dominant platform. Followers and concerned parties want - and expect - timely updates. While challenges are unavoidable, a hotel’s ability (or lack thereof) to effectively communicate critical information can significantly affect its brand reputation, guest relationships and long-term revenue.

After a weather-related crisis, the last thing you want to add is a communications disaster. How a crisis is managed can make or break relationships with your guests and potential guests. For your hotel’s weather-related disaster communications, use the following tips to prepare a plan, prevent social media mishaps and effectively interact with followers and guests.

Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan

During a hurricane crisis, social media managers serve as the liaison between the hotel and guests to provide informative, timely and transparent updates. Posting to Facebook takes minutes, but coordinating a message can take days. In an era where people demand immediate news, useful and well-timed updates trump everything else.

Preparing a communications strategy prior to the hurricane is essential. A proactive approach can expedite the communication to guests and industry partners after the disaster. Since hurricanes are unpredictable, a list of next steps and sample messaging should be created based on various outcomes that can quickly be selected and posted after the storm passes. For example, if damage is minimal, plan for a post-storm message announcing that the hotel continues welcoming guests. For moderate damage, the message can instruct guests with close-in reservations that they will be contacted by reservations with an update, and for major damage, the message can indicate the resort is temporarily closed and guests with existing reservations will be contacted by reservations to reschedule their visit.

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.


Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Anne Sandoval
Tim Trefzer
Jay Hartz
Holly Zoba
Andy Ellicott
Mark Ricketts
Peter O'Connor
Joyce Gioia
Sheetal Singh
Shayne Paddock
Randa Tukan
Coming up in June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.